Nana made candied orange peel every year. Dishes of this sweet treat appeared at the Thanksgiving table and Christmas dinner. In fact, the holidays would not be the same without this candy. After Nana died, my elder daughter continued the tradition, until she died two years ago. She was the mother of our only grandchildren — fraternal twins — and life is different without her.
Christmas was my daughter’s favorite time of year. My granddaughter loves it too, and puts up the tree the day after Thanksgiving. “Grandma, can we make candied orange peel?” she asked.
“Of course,” I replied. “I’ll find the recipe.”
I had made the candy before, but had trouble finding the recipe. Finally, I reached for Nana’s reliable text, “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book.” Candied orange peel was listed in the index and, when I turned to the page, it was covered with pale orange drips. Yes, Nana had “been there” and made the recipe countless times.
The recipe calls for the rind of four oranges, cooked slowly in boiling water. After the rind is soft, it is cut into strips and cooked in sugar water and corn syrup. Cooled rind is dipped in sugar or melted chocolate. Since Nana had a sweet tooth, she did both. Nana did a lot of snacking while she was making the candy.
A newer version of “The Good Housekeeping Cookbook” contains a similar recipe, only it is more elaborate. Orange rind is cooked once in boiling water for 15 minutes. The peel is drained and boiled again. Softened peel is dipped in sugar and lemon gelatin. Though I have not made the recipe, it sounds too sweet for me. Which recipe should I make with my grandaughter?
Of course, it has to be Nana’s recipe. I can almost see her cutting the peel into little triangles and licking chocolate from her fingers. Food links generations together and my granddaughter’s request came from memories of her mother’s holiday baking. Making candied orange peel will link us with her and Nana and our memories will be sweet.
Do you need a small gift for someone? This recipe is a great gift. I dip the peel in chocolate only, but you may follow Nana’s example and roll it in sugar as well. Here is the family recipe, just in time for the holidays.
4 navel oranges
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 package semisweet chocolate chips
Make four slits in each orange with a sharp knife. Peel the oranges and refrigerate the fruit. Remove any white parts from the peel with a spoon. Put the peels in a large saucepan. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the peel is translucent, or until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees. Cool the peel on nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Cut the peel into strips. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Dip the candy in the warm chocolate, coating one half of each piece of candy. Cool until chocolate has set. Store in tightly covered container.
Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 31 years. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of Health Care Journalists, and Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief,” written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from Amazon.
Centering Corporation has published her 26th book, “Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life.” The company has also published a companion resource, the “Writing to Recover Journal,” which contains 100 writing prompts. Please visit Harriet’s Website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.
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